- The assessment process has drawn well-founded criticism, but we should not pronounce it a failure without giving the experiment its best chance of success
- Lawyers should not just be told to give estimates but should be trained in legal budgeting
- We need to make the costs assessment system more centralised and to bring it under direct judicial supervision. We need to improve the consistency of decision making. And we need to pay our costs assessors properly
In 1993, New South Wales enacted a new system for quantifying disputed legal costs. Boldness is not usually associated with the law of legal costs, but this was a bold and new experiment.
The Chief Justice’s Review of the Costs Assessment Scheme and proposed Legal Profession Uniform Law provide an occasion to reflect on the future of the NSW experiment. The review has been a welcome development, but it will make a difference only if the executive and parliament take action.